Monday, January 27, 2014

God Loves You. ~Chester Blue by Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

Title: God Loves You. ~Chester Blue
Author: Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Pages: 140
Year: 2013
Publisher: Henry and George Press
Note: I won a free copy of this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.

     A great children’s chapter book for all ages!

     This book is about a cute stuffed blue bear that shows up mysteriously when someone is in need of the message that God loves them.

     This book would be great for reading a chapter a night to children before bed. The chapters are short and easy to read. They are simple and heartwarming. Chester not only brings the message, “God loves you,” but in many of the chapters he also brings the provision for a specific need.

     The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are darling and well drawn. They complement each chapter beautifully.

     I loved the simplicity of the story and give this book 5 stars. I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Texan's Promise (The Heart of a Hero #1) by Shelley Gray

Title: A Texan’s Promise (The Heart of a Hero #1)
Author: Shelley Gray
Pages: 350
Year: 2011
Publisher: Abingdon Press

     This is a heartwarming Christian western romance.

     Clayton Proffitt is foreman of the Circle Z Ranch. When he discovers that Vanessa Grant, daughter of the ranch’s owner, is the victim of her stepfather’s advances he knows he must protect her honor and move her far away from the ranch. They find that an unexpected, deep bond develops between them as they make their way west. Clayton’s biggest concern as they travel is that Vanessa’s stepfather won’t let her go so easily. They have to place their faith in both God and each other as they try to get away from his control.

     I loved this book. The characters were very well developed. From the very start of the story Vanessa’s plight broke my heart. I was rooting for them to get away from her stepfather and any control he had over both of them. I loved the fact that Clayton was relying on God for His direction and protection throughout the book. He did everything he could to help point others to look to God also.

     I’m giving this book 5 stars and looking forward to reading everything else that I can find by this author. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Unspoken by Dee Henderson

Unspoken [Paperback]

Title: Unspoken
Author: Dee Henderson
Pages: 441
Year: 2013
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I won a free copy of this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.

     An attention grabbing Christian suspense novel.

     Bryce Bishop owns a coin shop in Chicago. He is introduced to Charlotte Graham by the FBI director in Chicago. She has coins to sell from her grandfather’s estate. These facts are only the tip of the iceberg for this beautifully woven story.

     I was drawn into the story from the very beginning. Just the mystery surrounding Bryce’s introduction to Charlotte had me captivated. I had to find out the secrets of her past.

     I was absolutely fascinated by the descriptions of the coins that Charlotte had to sell. Dee Henderson is either a coin collector herself or she took the time to do extensive research to write this book. Either way all of the details she gives held my interest while waiting for the suspense caused by Charlotte’s past to build.

     The plot was slow to build but very intricately woven. I enjoyed the fact that Bryce was able to talk with key people in his life and get support from them without having to tell everything that had been shared in confidence with him. His faith in God was apparent and yet he didn’t come off as being preachy or judgmental towards those that didn’t have the strong faith he did.

     This book absolutely deserves 5 stars in my opinion. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Elusive Hope (Escape to Paradise #2) by MaryLu Tyndall

Elusive Hope (Escape To Paradise V2) [Paperback]

Title: Elusive Hope (Escape to Paradise #2)
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Pages: 319
Year: 2013
Publisher: Barbour Publishing Company
Notes: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     A captivating romantic adventure.

     Hayden Gale is determined to get the revenge he feels he deserves against the man he believes killed his mother. He will use anyone and any means he can to achieve his goal.

     Magnolia Scott is determined to return to the United States from the jungles of Brazil. She has decided that the only way possible for her to do so is to attach herself to Hayden Gale.

     Who will be successful in achieving their goal?

     MaryLu has written another incredible tale filled with great characters. In book #1 of this series, Forsaken Dreams, we really learned the stories of Blake and Eliza. Now we delve deeper into the stories of Hayden Gale and Magnolia Scott. We learn more of the deep dark secrets from their pasts and what brought each of them to Brazil. These stories are just as compelling and at times heartbreaking as Blake and Eliza’s were. I enjoyed seeing how much Blake and Eliza had grown in their faith of God as they try to help Hayden and Magnolia find their way through all of the baggage that they both carry.

     I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I give it 5 stars. I look forward to the next book in this series. I’m curious to see who the central characters will be in that segment of the “Escape to Paradise” saga. What are the secrets that those individuals have kept hidden? What is the journey that MaryLu will craft for them to take?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise #1) by MaryLu Tyndall

Forsaken Dreams, Escape to Paradise Series #1 [Paperback]

Title: Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise #1)
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Pages: 313
Year: 2013
Publisher: Barbour Publishing Company
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

Fantastic book!

After witnessing the death and destruction caused by the Civil War, Colonel Blake Wallace is eager to leave his once precious Southern homeland for the pristine shores of Brazil and the prospect of a new Utopian community. Widow Eliza Crawford seeks passage on Wallace’s ship harboring a dirty secret – and a blossoming hope for a fresh start. But will dangers from the sea and from man keep them from the peace and love they long for?

This is the first book I read by MaryLu Tyndall. I actually read it a few months ago, before I started this blog. I wanted to post a review for it here because I’m starting to read the second book in this series and will be reviewing it. Her writing style paints a beautiful and clear picture in my mind. I look forward to finding and reading everything else she has written.

This book is filled with incredibly well developed characters. Each of them has a past connection with the Civil War. Many of those pasts are slowly revealed throughout the book. Some are left as mysteries though. Hopefully they will be explored in later books in the series. This gives me something to look forward to in the books still to be written in this series.

I loved the way she wove trusting God into the story. She didn’t hit you upside the head with it or preach a sermon about it. I give this book a 5 star rating and highly recommend it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Melody for James (Song of Suspense #1) by Hallee Bridgeman

Title: A Melody for James (Song of Suspense #1)
Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Pages: 330
Year: 2013
Publisher: Olivia Kimbrell Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

     Captivating suspense!

     James Montgomery while still mourning the murder of his beloved wife has a chance meeting with beautiful Melody Mason. She is also dealing with her own grief at the time. As he saves her from a troubling situation they both feel an unexpected connection. Before they can see each other again disaster strikes and they lose contact with each other.

     Years later incredible events finally reunite them once more. By this time Melody has become the hottest female country singer. Together at last, they realize that the bond they felt at their first meeting has not died. They know that God paired them for a purpose. But sinister forces are threatening to destroy their rediscovered happiness. They must work together, placing all their faith in God as they solve the deadly mystery that binds their lives inexplicably together.

     I loved the great characters that Hallee developed for this story. They are easy to connect with. The plot is very intricately woven and kept my interest throughout the book. I was actually hooked by the story before I even finished reading the prologue. She also included a lot of details about what would go on behind the scenes at a concert that I found fascinating. A few of the twists that she included I was able to guess at but there were many more that caught me by surprise.

     I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. I’m giving this wonderful book, 5 stars.  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Uniform Decisions: My Life in the LAPD and the North Hollywood Shootout by John Caprarelli

Uniform Decisions: My Life in the LAPD and the North Hollywood Shootout [Paperback]

Title: Uniform Decisions: My Life in the LAPD and the North Hollywood Shootout
Author: John Caprarelli with Lee Mindham
Pages: 210
Year: 2011
Publisher: End of Watch
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

     Fantastic memoir!

     February 28, 1997, Los Angeles, California – After a botched robbery at a Bank of America branch in North Hollywood, two robbers armed with fully automatic assault rifles and wearing full body armor fired more than 1,100 rounds as they battled police.

     Eleven officers and two civilians were wounded. The two robbers, Emil Matasareanu and Larry Eugene Phillips Jr., were killed by gunfire.

     Officer John Caprarelli was one of the first at the scene. Before a national TV audience he confronted one of the robbers, provoking a gun battle and exchanging numerous shots before the gunman fell.

     In this memoir, John gives the reader a rare glimpse into his private life along with vivid recollections of events during his 27-year career with the LAPD culminating in a detailed breakdown of his thoughts and actions during the infamous bank robbery.

     I don’t read very many memoirs. I am just more interested in fiction. I decided to read this one because I remember hearing about the shootout at the Bank of America in North Hollywood on the news. I’m very glad that I did read this memoir.

     It captured my attention before I even finished the prologue. The writing style was very simple and easy to follow and understand. The cover of the book draws attention to the fact that the North Hollywood Shootout is covered in this book. Yet when I started reading it I found that over half of the book tells about John’s path to becoming a police officer, his training and the rest of his years with the LAPD. I found the entire book to be very interesting and informative. When he got to the events of February 28, 1997 it was clearly written and exciting. I was very glad that he went on to tell how that one day affected his life and his fellow officers that were there.

     This book earned a 5 star rating from me. I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Take a Chance on Me (Christiansen Family #1) by Susan May Warren

Take A Chance On Me (Christiansen Family Novel) [Paperback]

Title: Take a Chance on Me (Christiansen Family #1)
Author: Susan May Warren
Pages: 393
Year: 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House

     This is a great story of what forgiveness can do.

     Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor – oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

     Ivy Madison has moved to Deep Haven to take the job as assistant county attorney. Living in a small town and being a part of the community has been her dream. Suddenly her life has become more complicated. She simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charite auction held the first day she is in town. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

     Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy – a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

     I love the small town of Deep Haven that Susan May Warren has created. I would love to be able to live in a community like it where everyone knows each other. This is the first book of a new series set in the same community. I quickly fell in love with the Christiansen family. It would be so cool to be neighbors with a tight knit family like this.

     This particular book is the story of the oldest son Darek. As with most people he has a lot of baggage to deal with from past decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed finding out how his parents helped him to work through some of that baggage without ever judging him for those decisions. There are many other characters whose stories intertwine with Darek’s that are also working through past baggage. The gentle nudges that they all get to look to God for help is incredible. They all have a journey to take to find forgiveness for themselves and others. The paths are so intricately woven that it was a joy to follow along with these wonderful characters.

     I give this book a 5 star rating and highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to finding out the stories of the rest of the Christiansen children in future books in this series.